Mysterious Phenomena > Eternal Fires
An eternal flame is a flame, lamp or torch that burns continuously for an indefinite period. Most eternal flames are ignited and tended intentionally, but some are natural phenomena caused by natural gas leaks, peat fires and coal seam fires, all of which can be initially ignited by lightning, piezoelectricity or human activity, some of which have burned for thousands of years.
In ancient times, human-tended eternal flames were fueled by wood or olive oil; modern examples usually use a piped supply of propane or natural gas. Human-created eternal flames most often commemorate a person or event of national significance, serve as a symbol of an enduring nature such as a religious belief, or a reminder of commitment to a common goal, such as international peace.
Fueled by natural gas
At Yanartaş in the Olympos National Park in Turkey, natural gas burns from many vents on the side of the mountain. It is thought to be the location of ancient Mount Chimaera. This is the largest venting of abiogenic methane on Earth's terrestrial surface, and has been burning for over 2500 years. The flames were used in ancient times as a navigation beacon.
The Eternal Flame Falls, featuring a small natural gas-fueled flame that burns behind a waterfall, can be found in Chestnut Ridge Park in Western New York, United States.
There is an eternal flame in Guanziling, Taiwan, as a result of methane gas.
Flaming Geyser State Park in Washington, United States.
An area in India's Great Himalayas, worshiped by Hindus as Jwala Devi Temple, or Jwalamukhi Devi Temple, produces natural spontaneous flames and is said to have been doing so for thousands of years.
The Door to Hell, near Derweze, Turkmenistan, is a large hole leaking natural gas that has been burning since 1971.
An eternal flame near Kirkuk, Iraq, known to the locals as Baba Gurgur, is said to have been burning for thousands of years.
An eternal flame is found at the Yanar Dag mud volcano in Azerbaijan.
In the central Javanese village of Manggarmas in Indonesia, the Mrapen is a famous natural gas-fueled eternal flame originally ignited sometime before the 15th century Demak Sultanate era; it has never died out despite intense tropical rain and winds. It is said that the sacred kris heirloom dagger of Demak Sultanate were forged in this flame. The Mrapen flame, considered sacred in Javanese culture, is used in an annual Waisak Buddhist ceremony, brought to Mendut and Borobudur temple. It was also used in several torch relays for sport events such as Pekan Olahraga Nasional held every four years, 1997 Southeast Asian Games, 2008 Asian Beach Games, and 2011 Southeast Asian Games.
Other Eternal Fires